Indigenous youth from some of the world’s oldest living cultures are stepping forward to steer their communities past the threat of disappearance and into an age of coexistence with an increasingly globalised world.
Approximately 370 million indigenous peoples live in communities around the world – some in urban settings, some on reservations and others straddling both worlds.
They face many of the urgent social problems that exist among other disenfranchised minorities – poverty, lack of education, high unemployment, high rates of crime and a general lack of access to public services and resources.
Other issues are unique to the indigenous experience, including forced separation from homelands, loss of native languages, and histories of injustice, social exclusion and violence that have led to their modern day marginalisation.
In the year 2000, the United Nations (U.N.) created the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), in which a committee of experts, nominated by governments and indigenous civil society, discuss critical issues and recommend actions to the U.N. system.
This year, the UNPFII is highlighting the role of indigenous youth as community leaders. It held a meeting in January where indigenous youth from seven regions of the world gathered to share their insights with members of the Forum and experts from related organisations. More >>